While last week ended with an xkcd post, I want to start this week with an older one I missed about spacecraft. Because spacecraft are awesome every day of the week. In particular it looks at mass and payload capacity of spacecraft and rockets over time.
Readers of this blog know that I am a fan of rail travel. And in particular, how the rail system on the East Coast is brilliant when compared to anywhere else in the States. Unfortunately, the railway system on the East Coast is also old and in need of serious capital investment. The tunnels linking New York and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River are a prime example. But a few years ago, Governor Christie of New Jersey killed Amtrak’s plans to build new tunnels to provide a backup to the existing infrastructure and increase overall capacity. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at Amtrak’s new plan to cross the Hudson. Let’s hope this venture is a bit more successful.
The new project
Credit for the piece goes to the Wall Street Journal graphics department.
Spoiler alert, it’s big. Thankfully Scientific American has attempted to put the West African outbreak in the context of all other Ebola outbreaks. I think the one thing missing, rather the one thing I would have done differently, is to include some kind of background element to show the difference in scale. A giant circle behind the whole graphic. Or a giant diamond. Of course the designer may not have had the space to do that, because the scale difference is just that extreme.
Putting the ongoing outbreak in context
Credit for the piece goes to Pitch Interactive for Scientific American.
Alighting an aircraft is a time consuming pain in the arse. Probably number one for me, after security. Anyway, Vox looked at the slow boarding and alighting process and how to improve it. And why, most likely, airlines are not terribly interested in improving it. Hint, follow the money.
Doing it right
Credit for the piece goes to Menkes van den Briel.
Travelling by plane can often be a hassle because getting from the airport to the destination is not always easy. Suffice it to say your humble author has—on a few occasions—been almost stranded at Philadelphia International because of no way to get where I was going. A lot of that comes down to poor public transit options. In my cases, it mostly stemmed from terrible weather delaying my flight until the wee hours of the morning after which train service stops.
Thankfully, Five Thirty Eight took a look at the public transit vs. car options for various cities/airports and seeing which option is faster. Ultimately Philly is awarded an honourable mention because the R1 (what some people now call the Airport Line) is convenient if your timing is right. Mine, obviously, has never been.
Today’s piece comes via a colleague. It is an article about hit-and-run cycling accidents in and around Los Angeles. The data visualisation in the article is not entirely complex—we are talking only about line charts and bar charts—but they support the arguments and statements in the article. And in that sense they are doing their job.
Locations of hit-and-run accidents in and around LA
Credit for the piece goes to Armand Emamdjomeh, Laura J. Nelson, and Joseph Serna.
Last week, there was a disruption at the air traffic control centre for the United Kingdom. It caused many travel problems. And the BBC included a graphic showing how the problem was shutting down London air space.
Empty skies over London
Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.
At the time of writing, Orion has yet to launch. But by the time this is published, Orion—NASA’s successor to the space shuttle—will hopefully be at or near the greatest distance from Earth achieved by a spacecraft since the Apollo programme. The Houston Chronicle illustrated the different stages of the unmanned test flight. Hopefully in several years when the programme has its manned flight this blog will still be here and somebody out there will similarly illustrate that mission.
Last Friday a fire in an FAA centre in one of Chicago’s suburbs shut down air traffic in the Chicago area. You know, not a big deal. So the Chicago Tribune made a small graphic to show just how much of a difference a closure of air space can make.
Air traffic shutdown
Credit for the piece goes to the Chicago Tribune’s graphics department.